Like many other cancers, breast cancer can appear in several different forms, and it can be helpful when dealing with a diagnosis of the disease to understand the myriad forms it can take on.

Breast cancer can either begin in the ducts and lobules within the breast or in the nipple. Cancer of the lobes or lobules is more commonly known as lobular carcinoma, and cancer which begins in the ducts is called ductal carcinoma.

There are eight main forms of breast cancer:

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

This breast cancer is typically located within the breast’s ductal system. The disease is non-invasive, and by definition is a localized breast cancer, though over time it may become an invasive cancer and spread to other areas of the body. Since this diagnosis typically means the cancer is still in its early stages, it can usually be treated easily.

Infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC)

This is the most common form of breast cancer, accounting for 78 percent of all incidences of the disease. Through mammography, this invasive cancer will appear as either a round structure or as a star-shaped structure. Diagnosis of this cancer typically means the disease, which begins in the ducts, has spread to surrounding organs via the bloodstream or lymph system.

Medullary carcinoma

This form of breast cancer accounts for approximately 15 percent of all incidences of the disease. It is an invasive cancer, although the long-term prognosis for it is better than other infiltrating cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, some unique aspects of this cancer are that the cancer cells are relatively large and that immune system cells can be located along the outside of the tumor.

Infiltrating lobular carcinoma (ILC)

One of the less common breast cancers, this cancer begins in the milk-producing glands of the breast called lobules. In comparison to infiltrating ductal carcinoma, this breast cancer can be more difficult to discover through mammograms. Hormone therapy has proven most effective for treating this invasive breast cancer.

Tubular carcinoma

This breast cancer is a form of invasive ductal carcinoma, differentiated by the way the cancerous cells appear under a microscope. Only two percent of all breast cancers fall under this classification, but they typically have a much better prognosis than other cancers of the breast.

Mucinous carcinoma

This invasive form of breast cancer is also sometimes referred to as colloid carcinoma, and is formed by mucus-secreting cancer cells. It is quite rare, accounting for only one to two percent of all incidences of breast cancer.

Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)

This form of breast cancer is particularly unusual in that it rarely is accompanied by any lumps or masses, which can lead to it being missed or going undetected through many of the typical avenues of testing for cancer. Often misdiagnosed as rashes or infections, this cancer causes the affected breast to become swollen and red.

Paget’s disease of the nipple or areola

This disease is the least common form of breast cancer. Similar to inflammatory breast cancer, it can appear to be a rash. Often, a full mastectomy, or removal of the breast, is required because late detection or a misdiagnosis caused treatment to be delayed and allowed the cancer to spread to the nipple, areola, and milk ducts.

If you or a loved one in Georgia has been diagnosed with any form of breast cancer and feel that your doctor originally failed to diagnose it properly, please request a copy of our free book, I Have Cancer…Should It Have Been Caught Earlier?, and contact an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice and breast cancer lawyer at the Dover Law Firm at 770-518-1133 to schedule a free consultation.